Canadian Wetland Leadership Conference, 2013-14 (Phase I)

Final Report: Canadian Wetland Leadership Conference, 2013-2014

Goals and Objectives

In 2003, the  Conference on Canadian Wetlands Stewardship was convened in Ottawa under the leadership of the late Ken Cox and the Canadian Wetlands Secretariat. The vision stemming from this event was for an overall increase in wetlands by 2013, as well as maintenance or enhancement of ecological functions. The conference recommended seven strategies to realize this vision, related to a policy framework, integrated watershed management, wetland inventory, governance, capacity, education, and wetland industry. Now, in 2013, the reality is that progress on the strategies has been limited, and wetlands continue to be lost across the country.

The lack of progress on these goals and the  current trends of habitat loss are a serious problem for waterfowl, migratory birds, other wildlife and for the social, and economic well-being of Canada. Government, industry and ENGO partners agree: we need to reconvene our discussion and plan a collaborative and coordinated  path forward. 

Alongside other partners, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture proposes to reinvigorate dialogue on wetland conservation in Canada over the next six months, aimed at setting a new course for the next decade 2014-2024. The project will bring together willing government, industry and ENGO partners and create opportunities for interested parties to discuss, recommend and commit to a contemporary, progressive model for wetland conservation leadership. 

The specific goal of this initiative is the establishment of a National Wetland Strategy 2014-2024, as well as the formation and cooperative funding of a Canadian Wetland Leadership Council.

Such a Strategy with strong and effective leadership would make possible, for example:

  • National standards for wetland policy including a consistent definition of “wetland”
  • Cross-jurisdictional coordination of the approach to wetland policy implementation, including national standards for mitigation and compensation in the face of development with negative impacts to wetlands
  • Implementation of a national wetland inventory
  • Coordination of science-based economic and ecological evaluation of various wetland functions
  • Acceleration of the development and evaluation of market-based compensation schemes to provide incentives to private landowners to conserve and restore wetlands
  • Other practical support mechanisms for conserving wetlands
  • Improved awareness of the benefits of wetlands, among the public and resource agencies, and
  • Future science and policy forums to engage stakeholders in wetland conservation.

Activities

Phase I (2013-2014)
Strike a Canadian Wetland Leadership Steering Committee

Facilitate a productive event with engaged participants

Phase II (2014-2015) – next steps
Convene a 2 day Wetland Leadership Forum in Ottawa (April 2014)

Invite MPs, senior staff and media to a Wetland Leadership reception during the Forum

Produce a National Wetland Strategy as an outcome of the Forum

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

The purpose of this project is to identify and drive meaningful, positive impacts for waterfowl populations and their habitat. The actions and approaches will vary across jurisdictions and sectors, but will all contribute to the greater project objectives. WHC’s contribution will be instrumental in ensuring that the project proceeds.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Brigid Rivoire, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Agriculture.